Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Chigorin Defense

1. d4 d5 2. c4 Nc6

White has attacked Black's center with the move c4. Black, instead of defending his center with moves like e6 or c6 attacks White's center with Nc6. The attack is not aimed at winning the pawn, as that is unlikely to happen. Instead, complex positions arise where Black has some dynamic plus in exchange for some other weakness, usually pawn structure, space, or the bishop pair.

To my mind, the opening needs to be played with general ideas in mind, as opposed to memorization of opening variations. The Chigorin is somewhat respectable at top levels, with Morozevich being the most well known player to use it. However, it is not entirely respectable, and is thus used infrequently. It is often used as a surprise opening, something that is good enough to use so long as your opponent is not too well prepared.

For the Club level player (Class C USCF to Expert), these sporadic games are helpful as learning tools, but should not be relied on so heavily. It is very possible that the most popular lines are busted, but the ways to bust them are not yet known.

That said, some knowledge of the opening is helpful, and similarly to the Sicilian Dragon, three positions are especially important to learn.

1. d4 d5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nc3

This is the best move in my opinion. White attacks Black's center again, and Black really has no adequate way of defending it. cxd4 is recommended, and Black must relinquish his center. But that is not the end of the story. Black should have fairly easy development for his pieces now, and White often over presses with his own center, losing it in less favorable circumstances. It should be noted that a common variation arising from this position continues 3...cxd4 4. d5 Na5 which leads to very sharp and interesting play revolving generally around sacrificing the Black Knight on a5 for a handful of pawns. This line looks a bit busted at the moment, though at the Club level this doesnt matter all that much. Even so, for me, 4...Ne5 leads to interesting play anyway, and Black is not forced so much into sharp lines.

1. d4 d5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nf3

This is probably my favorite to play against. 3...Bg4 4. cxd5 Bxf3 5. dxc6 Bxc6 and Black has a fairly comfortable position. His Light Squared Bishop may be mis-placed, but that can be remedied fairly easily.

1. d4 d5 2. c4 Nc6 3. cxd5

I am not positive, but I believe this was or is considered the main line of the Chigorin. Black's placing his Queen in the center, and giving up the Dark squared bishop certainly are Operadunus Modem of the Chigorin. Over the years, many nuances for both sides have been discovered, and study of these can help even outside the Chigorin.

Well, that is a wrap for today. That is also a wrap for my overview of my main Openings for Black. I havent yet decided whether or not I will do a general overview like this for White next (or at all) or if I will just jump into the 6 parts of the 2 openings, maybe even try and come up with some fancy names for them.

I am pleasantly surprised at how easy I was able to get the pictures into these blog posts, and may try and do more stuff that is helpful, like adding more links within the post (in case you dont know what I am talking about).

Also, a few posts on pawn structure and the Bishop Pair v Knights and other general stuff like that might be on the way.

Finally, here is a Free E-Book written by Dr. Manuel Gerardo Monasterio. It is a good book, and really much more valuable than its price. [Edit: Unfortunately, I checked the link recently and it is no longer available. That is a shame, because it was a very good book. Hopefully it turns up somewhere.]

Have a good day.